The BRAD BLOG https://bradblog.com Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! Wed, 08 Feb 2023 01:37:08 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en The BRAD BLOG's 19th Anniversary Kicks off Our 20th(!) Year of Trouble-Making, Muckraking! https://bradblog.com/?p=14540 https://bradblog.com/?p=14540#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2023 16:34:07 +0000 Brad Friedman BRAD BLOG https://bradblog.com/?p=14540 if (window.document.getElementById('post-14540')) window.document.getElementById('post-14540').parentNode.className += ' adhesive_post';

19 years? Now in our 20th?! I'm having trouble processing it as well. I recall all too well my dumb anniversary jokes over the years about turning 3 or 5 or 9 or sweet 16. Now, unpredictably enough, The BRAD BLOG is officially in its 20th year of blogging, broadcasting, trouble-making and muckraking! (And all still supported by readers and listeners like you!)

It's been a wild, hilarious, maddening and terrifying ride, at times, even if I'm not much of a look-backer...

I'm proud, however, to know that our deep archives here tend to speak for themselves. For history. There are a lot of ignored --- and still-accurate --- warnings in our past 19 years of collective reporting. Interestingly enough, however, there are a number of exclusive BRAD BLOG stories we have broken over those years which have becoming surprisingly relevant all over again in recent years for a number of reasons.

Just this past week, for example, I was contacted by a national media outlet regarding our exclusive, secretly recorded Koch Brothers tapes which we obtained and released here and at Mother Jones back in 2011. They revealed that billionaire brother Charles Koch, at the time, was seeking to raise more than a billion dollars from millionaire and billionaire rightwing cronies at a secret meeting near Vail, Colorado. His remarks to the crowd were protected (they thought) from prying media, with the deployment of huge speakers blasting pink noise out into the mountains to avoid sensitive, long-range, parabolic microphones. Koch seemed to echo none other than Saddam Hussein in his remarks as he described the GOP's upcoming battle against Democrats and Barack Obama in 2012 as "the mother of all wars." Those exclusive recordings also did no favors to that weekend's secret keynote speaker, one of the GOP's chief Presidential hopefuls at the time, a then-popular, pre-BridgeGate Chris Christie who managed to sneak out of his state to secretly address the millionaires and billionaires. NJ media had no idea he had even left that weekend until it was revealed by our reporting.

Every time I hear Trump's disgraced attorneys Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani or any of the other 2020 MAGA election denialist stooges falsely citing the late Hugo Chavez and Venezuela as somehow playing a role in "stealing" the 2020 election from Donald Trump with voting systems made by Dominion or Smartmatic, I enjoy a quiet smile knowing exactly whose exclusive reporting those clucks had wildly misinterpreted and/or bastardized to spin up their fantastical, evidence-free tales about it. Whenever I hear yet another corporate media news story about one more step towards the multi-billion dollar defamation suits that those scam-artist attorneys and their friendly dupes at Fox "News" and other rightwing outlets now face from the two voting machine companies, it remains a singular point of quiet pride.

I still hear frequently from folks just now discovering for themselves via The BRAD BLOG that former GOP superstar Ann Coulter is actually an unapologetic two-time voter fraud scofflaw herself. And I'm always happy to point them to our coverage detailing how she is hardly the only headline GOPer who has personally defrauded the voting system while hypocritically citing phantom Democratic voter fraud conspiracies in order to rig elections for Republicans.

Harranging outlets like The New York Times to finally (partially) correct a dozen or so inaccurately reported stories about Republican con-artist James O'Keefe and his phony 2010 "ACORN Pimp Hoax" tapes is another point I look back on with pride, even if the admission of mainstream media failure would come too late to prevent the critical voter registration organization's misinformation-driven demise. (And, yes, O'Keefe shows up later on that list cited above of GOP vote fraudsters.)

Still, there is no small amount of irony in knowing that the publisher of O'Keefe's ACORN bullshit, Andy Breitbart --- in the years before his untimely sudden death in 2012 (who knew they even had COVID vaccines back then?) --- used to try and harrangue me on Twitter (and on air) about my well-reported concerns over electronic voting systems.

"Diebold!Diebold!Diebold!Diebold!Diebold!Diebold!Diebold!Diebold!Diebold! Boo!," Breitbart scoffed in one of those many tweets, insinuating I was a moonbat conspiracy theorist for my years of accurate reporting that helped highlight the growing dangers and vulnerabilities of electronic voting and tabulation. That, of course, was back when in the Dubya-years when it was helpful to Republicans to tamp down such concerns. Years later, Steve Bannon, Breitbart's protege and successor at his eponymous Republican Internet propaganda site, would take up the mantle of electronic voting criticizer-in-chief, ironically enough. (But, of course, see references to dead Hugo Chavez above.)

2004 voting software whistleblower Clint Curtis, whose disturbing story is still likely the largest and creepiest one we've ever broken over the years, has enjoyed yet another round of fame (infamy?) post-2020 as Republicans (most of whom, like Brietbart, had scoffed at him so many years ago) suddenly discovered his story and convinced themselves they'd found the Holy Grail of stolen election whistleblowers! (They hadn't. But my thanks to Sidney Powell and ALL of the confused rightwingers who have shared so many links to our back archives over these past two years!)

And, of late, with the story of Donald Trump stealing hundreds of documents upon leaving the White House, it has been very helpful that, way back in 2004, I had gained a fairly robust working knowledge of the suddenly-relevant-again Presidential Records Act of 1975. I first became versed in that law during my coverage of the very first story from The BRAD BLOG that went nationally viral, dubbed "The White House Website Scrubbing Scandal" at the time, during the Bush/Cheney run-up to the flawed 2004 Presidential election that year.

There has been much more over the years --- catching CNN misreporting on a nuclear site from North Korea as if it was one just built in Iran in 2005; the corrupt federal Judge from Alabama caught on tape assaulting his wife in an Atlanta hotel room in 2014... and I could go on. But, as noted, despite all this looking back, I'm still not much of a look-backer. I note all of these stories because they also feel surprisingly relevant in various ways as we look forward.

We are where we came from. And its difficult to reconcile how correct many of us were in our warnings and reportage on just about everything, so many years ago in the old-school lefty blogosphere (largely supplanted since by the social media train-wrecks), even as we were often dismissed and/or marginalized by the right and corporate media at the time. We are now, in this country, in this world, exactly where some of us had long-warned we would be.

In more recent years, as we've moved more towards broadcasting with a daily radio program (begun just weeks before Trump came down his golden escalator --- what was I thinking?!) and our twice-weekly, nationally syndicated Green News Report, (now heading toward its own 14th Anniversary, and begun many years before there was much, if any, talk at all of "climate change" in polite society, much less in the corporate media), both programs have played an increasingly larger role in The BRAD BLOG Cinematic Universe.

In the meantime, I know some of you have been around, in one form or another here, for much or all of these past 19 years. My apologies, hats-off and endless thanks to you. We couldn't have made it this far without your years of support, be that as a donor, reader, listener, commenter or any combination thereof.

I should also include my thanks here to all of those who have contributed as writers to The BRAD BLOG over the year as well. But, believe it or not, that list includes almost 90 contributing guest-bloggers over these 19 years. Too long to list. But my huge thanks to all!

I'd say it couldn't possibly be our 20th year, but these days, frankly...it feels like it's been at least that long, after what has been the most difficult and grueling career of my life (and I've had several --- careers...not lives.) It's also become more difficult to keep going with each passing year. I'd like to blame that on the horrible turn our politics have taken in recent years, versus just getting older. I'm gonna go ahead and go with the former, though ask me again when we reach our 20th birthday next year.

Until then, thank you, thank you, thank you for all!

And, yes, we are still 100% reader and listener supported. NO PAYWALL! Ya know, like the Internets are supposed to be! I'd love to keep it that way forever if possible. But, as always, your help remains required. Please sign up for an automatic monthly subscription of any amount you like if you haven't already and/or a one-time donation of any amount you can afford. Both are still greatly appreciated and very much needed! Thank you for all of that over all of these years as well!

Onward!...

-- Brad (and all of The BRAD BLOG Cinematic Universe superheroes by proxy!)


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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=14540 Even Republican Election Officials in FL 'Cannot Stomach' DeSantis' New Vote-by-Mail Restrictions: 'BradCast' 2/7/2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14556 https://bradblog.com/?p=14556#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2023 01:24:02 +0000 Brad Friedman Ohio Florida Election Reform Texas BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Rights And Freedoms Censorship Vote Caging/Intimidation/Suppression Republicans LGBTQ Vote-by-Mail KPFK Russia Climate change Extreme weather BradCast Race European Union Fascism/Autocracy Ron DeSantis Election 2024 Election 2022 Heritage Foundation https://bradblog.com/?p=14556 We're old enough at The BradCast to remember when Republicans used to at least pretend to believe in things like "personal freedoms." But, now that Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis is preparing a run for President in 2024, things are getting mighty early 20th-century German-y these days down in the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The recently re-elected Governor is on a roll. Most notably, over the past year or so, he has adopted a "Don't Say Gay" law, threatening school teachers with dismissal for referencing LGBTQ issues in public schools, and, more recently, his "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" to prevent discussion of race issues and other things that the all-mighty State decides may make the parents of a white, straight child uncomfortable. Also known (ironically enough) as the "Individual Freedom Act," a federal judge recently cited George Orwell's 1984 in describing the law as "positively dystopian" as it has resulted in the state-ordered banning of library books.

But DeSantis isn't cowed by courts of law or even public opprobrium. Last Friday, his State Department of Business and Professional Regulation (apparently, Republicans now love state regulations too?) filed a 27-page complaint against The Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation, seeking to revoke their liquor license. Why? Well, last December, for the eighth year in a row, they featured a performance of the popular Drag Queen Christmas national tour and "violated Florida statutes" by allowing parents to bring their children, according to the state's complaint. (So much for "parental choice," which GOPers also used to pretend to believe in.)

Perhaps all of that wouldn't be so bad, if Floridians knew they could hold elected officials accountable at the ballot box. Sadly --- and predictably --- the Governor and his henchmen in the state legislator in Tallahassee are working to make that more difficult as well. Last year, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 524. In addition to giving him a personal special "elections crimes" police force (which he immediately abused by ordering the round-up of former felons at gunpoint and on camera for "voter fraud" even though most had been told by the state they were allowed to vote in 2020), the measure also mimics a law recently adopted by Texas that resulted in a huge percentage of vote-by-mail ballots being rejected in 2022.

The new provision mandates that vote-by-mail voters include a drivers license or social security number on their absentee envelope when casting their vote. However, there's no easy way for voters to know which one of those two numbers will match the number on their registration record and ballots will be rejected without a perfect match. The Texas version of the same law --- being pushed as "model legislation" by the far-right Heritage Foundation in several GOP-controlled states --- resulted in preliminary ballot rejection rates as high as 38% in several counties during last year's primaries.

Now, the bipartisan Florida Supervisors of Elections Association, comprised of elected county elections chiefs, are pushing back against the new law. They argue unanimously in a new report [PDF] that it will result in disenfranchised voters, as well as increased costs to counties and security issues for elections.

We're joined today by ION SANCHO, Florida's legendary, former Leon County Supervisor of Elections who served in the elected position for nearly 30 years before resigning in 2016. He explains the many concerns about the new measure and why it is that election officials around the state are so unanimously troubled by it.

"Even though a majority of the Supervisors of Elections are Republicans, they cannot stomach what they see the Florida legislature doing, because it's real simple --- it's not fair," Sancho tells me. "Every Supervisor of Elections in the state can see that this is simply a partisan attack on voters that the Governor is trying to suppress. That offends them."

The new law, he fears, will be "a logistical nightmare" for election officials. "This whole process --- that we carefully spent a decade building to ensure that legal voters could cast and have that ballot counted --- is under direct threat, and by individuals who haven't a clue about how Florida elections work. Because these recommendations came from Heritage Action, the political arm for the Heritage Foundation."

Sancho is hopeful that some of the Republicans in Tallahassee will listen to the elections officials. "Because where this will blow up, the first election under these new rules," will be the state's March 2024 Presidential Preference Primary, "where you've got to two apex Republicans, possibly, on the ballot. And you don't want that election to melt down. These rules could destroy the Presidential primary in Florida. And wouldn't that put some egg on DeSantis' face."

So well respected by his peers that he was selected by them to oversee the ultimately-aborted 2000 Presidential recount in the state, Sancho charges that "Governor DeSantis has really declared war on any human being that has a different political ideology than himself. It's shocking."

Nonetheless, DeSantis, after winning in 2018 by less than half a percentage point, was re-elected to a second term by a landslide last November, even as Republicans elsewhere in the nation had a very difficult election. Why did he do so well last year? Sancho offers his thoughts on that as well today. And, yes, it has to do with the "tremendous impact" of the Governor's new special election crimes police force and a resulting "complete collapse of African-American voting" last year in the state. But that, Sancho seems confident, is likely to turn around in 2024...at least if their votes are allowed to be tallied.

Please tune in for another very clarifying and compelling conversation/warning with the great Ion Sancho today!

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on a disturbing chemical train derailment in Ohio; catastrophic heat and wildfires in Chile; EU's successful move away from Russian fossil fuels; and some good news about this year's global investments in clean energy sources versus those in dirty, deadly fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=14556 'Green News Report' - February 7, 2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14555 https://bradblog.com/?p=14555#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2023 18:29:28 +0000 Desi Doyen Ohio Environment Green News Chile Russia Oil Wind energy Solar energy Climate change Extreme weather China Ukraine Mike DeWine Water European Union Pollution Electricity https://bradblog.com/?p=14555

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Ohio chemical train derailment forces evacuations; Chile battles catastrophic wildfires amid record-breaking heat wave; EU has replaced Russian fossil fuels; PLUS: For the first time ever, global investment in clean energy equals fossil fuel investment... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): U.N. Secretary-General’s searing message for the fossil fuel industry; BP scales back climate targets as profits hit record; Neo-Nazis plotted to attack power grid, feds say; Feds warn Rio Grande settlement could trigger disaster; Colorado River crisis is so bad, lakes Mead and Powell are unlikely to refill in our lifetimes; Texas carbon capture project is 'Band-Aid' to greenwash $10 billion LNG plant, locals say; Coal ash dumps along shores of Great Lakes threaten water supplies... PLUS: Essential insects in East Asia have declined massively, study finds... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


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Of Biden, Balloons and Bad Media Coverage: 'BradCast' 2/6/2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14554 https://bradblog.com/?p=14554#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2023 01:55:18 +0000 Brad Friedman Election Reform BRAD BLOG Media Appearance National Security Wisconsin Mainstream Media Failure Dept. of Defense Democrats Republicans FEC Joe Biden Turkey KPFK Koch Industries China Syria BradCast Election 2020 Election 2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=14554 Breaking news today and a weekend full of otherwise dumb news resulted in a bit of a hodge-podge on today's BradCast. I hope you'll enjoy it anyway! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of Sunday's horrific, pre-dawn, 7.8 magnitude earthquake --- and several huge aftershocks --- in Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. As we went to air, the death toll from both countries was more than 3,400. That tragic number is likely to continue to rise.
  • American Republicans are, no doubt, breathing easier today following the great Chinese Spy Balloon Crisis that gripped them with fear and threatened their very lives and those of their families for several days since last week. On Saturday, the U.S. military shot down the high altitude balloon off the coast of South Carolina and have been collecting its remnants for study. Thankfully, nobody was hurt throughout this days long national nightmare, and the Dept. of Defense suggests the U.S. gained more from the exercise, on balance, than China did. The DoD claims our borders were similarly breached by Chinese spy balloons three times during the Trump Administration. Despite fevered demands from some on the Right, neither President Biden nor Vice President Harris resigned in shame amid "the catastrophic Chinese Spy Balloon spectacle [that] clearly threatened American families" from coast to coast.
  • Great news for the wealthy! Thanks to campaign finance legislation adopted during the George W. Bush era in 2002, and huge inflation numbers in 2022, the amount of money that can now be donated to a single candidate for a single election has been increased from $2,900 to $3,300. The amount that can be given to national party committees, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has increased from $36,500 to $41,300 per year. And the amount allowed for payoffs to special national party committees, such as for national party conventions, has spiked from $109,500 to $123,900. Of course, those limits also apply to poor and working-class people instead. So, it's all totally fair and just some good ol' American "free speech" at work!
  • After declining to support Donald Trump's two Presidential runs in 2016 and 2020, the Koch Network is getting back in the game, vowing to oppose Trump this year by declaring their support for one non-Trump Republican by summer's end. We'll see if they have any better luck this year than their similar losing strategy back in 2016.
  • Despite conceding that Trump lost the 2020 election in Wisconsin, according to an audio recording obtained by AP, his campaign team in the Badger State vowed to help "fan the flame" of phony fraud as early as two days after Biden's win there.
  • Love him (or his policies) or hate him (or his policies), Joe Biden has accomplished more in the first two years of his Presidency than perhaps any other American President in history going back to at least FDR. Nonetheless, just one day before his second official State of the Union address on Tuesday, new polling out today from Washington Post and ABC News finds that 62% of Americans believe Biden has accomplished "not very much" or "little or nothing" in the first two years of his term. That may be an extraordinary failure by Democrats and the White House to get the word out about their own accomplishments. But the greatest indictment here should be for the corporate mainstream media whose only actual (Constitutionally-protected) job is to inform the public and educate the American electorate! Clearly, they have failed. Again. We discuss.
  • Finally, callers ring in today mostly on the topic of Biden's accomplishments or --- as several incorrectly see it --- lack thereof...

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=14554 Sunday 'Full Faith and Credit' Toons https://bradblog.com/?p=14553 https://bradblog.com/?p=14553#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2023 14:46:43 +0000 PDiddie Toons https://bradblog.com/?p=14553

Please consider supporting a disappearing craft with a subscription to the work of one of these political cartoonists.

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Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs,
usually on topics concerning the strange brew of Texas politics.
He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


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Evidence Shows Hunter Biden Reads Newspapers, Not Classified Documents (Repubs Should Try it!): 'BradCast' 2/2/2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14552 https://bradblog.com/?p=14552#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2023 02:51:28 +0000 Brad Friedman Fox 'News' Tucker Carlson BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Alaska Accountability U.S. House Dept. of Justice New York Post Rudy Giuliani Democrats Republicans Joe Biden EPA KPFK Donald Trump Natural gas Oil Climate change Extreme weather Ted Cruz BradCast Ukraine Exxon Mobil Kevin McCarthy Ron Johnson Jared Kushner Pebble Mine Infrastructure Ilhan Omar Marjorie Taylor Greene Paul Gosar James Comer Hunter Biden https://bradblog.com/?p=14552 Apparently, our week of GOP debunkery continues on today's BradCast. I have a feeling we may be at it for quite some time, as Republicans are just getting started with their crash and burn majority control of the U.S. House. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On yesterday's program, we shared a few clips from interviews this week with the new Republican Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky. He explained why he was dead set on his committee investigating the connection between classified documents found by Joe Biden's aides at his Delaware residence (and immediately returned to the federal government) and concerns about "influence peddling" by the President and his family. That, despite any actual evidence to support the allegations.

Comer also made clear he had no interest in his Committee investigating the former President, despite the hundreds of classified documents he'd stolen from the White House (and refused to return, with many still missing) and mountains of evidence of influence peddling by Donald Trump and many of his children, including son-in-law Jared Kushner who received $2 billion from the Saudis just after Trump left office.

There was one point Comer focused on, however, in an effort to buttress his case. "There's one email that's been identified that is suspicious, that we want to look into," he explained. "We want to make sure that this one email that was on Hunter Biden's laptop wasn't one of the classified documents" found at Biden's residence in DE.

This claim seems to stem from an allegation first published by a New York Post columnist, apparently. GOP Senators have also been citing the same claim of late. Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) recently argued on Fox Business that an email from 2014, said to have been found on what Republicans have long claimed to be an "abandoned" laptop from the President's son contained "a very detailed analysis of what's happening in Ukraine." Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) alleged on a podcast that information in the email "could easily have come from a classified briefing."

Washington Post's Glenn Kessler examined the allegation and the evidence today. He found that the facts stated in the 22-point email said to be from Hunter actually lined up with information that was not only on the public record at the time, but published by major news outlets just weeks before the date of the email. "Laptop email suggests Hunter Biden read newspapers, not classified documents," Kessler's headline reads today. He awarded "Three Pinocchios" to the claims from Johnson and Cruz, as echoed by Oversight Committee Chair Comer on Sunday.

At the same time, Hunter Biden, after years of staying quiet about all of this, appears to now be pushing back. His attorneys recently sent legal letters to Fox "News" and Tucker Carlson, for example, demanding they retract and apologize for what the letters characterize as defamatory statements. They've also sent letters seeking criminal investigations by both state and federal authorities into the dissemination of his personal data by folks like Rudy Giuliani in the run-up to the 2020 election, making clear that while some of the data discovered was his, he neither authorized its public release, nor dropped off an allegedly abandoned laptop at a repair shop, as the GOP story, initially spread by Giuliani, goes.

Much more on all of the above today. But if Republican members of Congress believe that House investigations into this sort of stuff is what voters want them to do, after months of campaigning on claims of out-of-control crime, record inflation, high gas prices, etc., they are likely very wrong. At least according to a new report on focus groups of independent voters in Wisconsin, Virginia and Texas.

Next up today, we share some of the remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House floor today before a vote by House Republicans to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee based on comments they regard as anti-Israel four years ago. In truth, the move by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy --- who was finally able to scrounge up the minimum number of votes needed to remove her (all Dems voted in her favor) --- was clearly revenge for Democrats removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) from their committee assignments during the last Congress. That, after they each posted violent threats against Democrats. (For example, Green promoted a comment from a supporter calling for the assassination of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Gosar posted a video in which he is depicted as decapitating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with a ninja sword.)

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Big Oil profiteers announce all-time record profits after a year or two of inflating gas prices; and the Biden EPA announces some very good news for longtime opponents of what would have been a toxic mining project in a pristine part of Alaska.

Finally today, a programming announcement for The BradCast! We will be moving to a four-day-a-week, Monday through Thursday schedule (with rebroadcasts scheduled for Friday) for the foreseeable future. While there are no emergencies, as noted on the program, there are several reasons for this change. Catching up on some long overdue health issues (physical, emotional, mental) is just one of them. We're fine. But, after moving from a weekly to a daily schedule back in early 2015, in order to cover the 2016 elections, and then staying with that schedule thanks to the "surprise" ending of that election, and then continuing on through four years of Trump and a years-long pandemic...well, we've got a lot to catch up with here and hope you will both understand and forgive us for our need to take Fridays off for a while. Perhaps even permanently. (Feel free to leave any complaints in the comments section below, however!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=14552 'Green News Report' - February 2, 2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14551 https://bradblog.com/?p=14551#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2023 18:47:40 +0000 Desi Doyen Alaska Environment Joe Biden Sheldon Whitehouse Green News EPA Natural gas Oil Wind energy Solar energy Climate change Extreme weather Maria Cantwell Exxon Mobil Mining European Union Pebble Mine Infrastructure https://bradblog.com/?p=14551

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Big Oil posts all-time high record profits; Biden hits the road to promote long-awaited infrastructure upgrades; Earth saw 42 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2022; PLUS: Biden EPA finally vetoes Alaska's controversial proposed Pebble Mine... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Biden Admin. recommends major Alaska oil project; Clean energy saw as much investment as fossil fuels for the first time in 2022; Arizona copper mine proposal could advance clean energy but scar sacred tribal lands; One of climate change's great mysteries - clouds --- may finally be solved; How just 25 oil companies are set to blow the world’s 1.5°C carbon budget; Global elite produce almost half greenhouse emissions, UN saysPLUS: The right words are crucial to solving climate change ... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


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Could Biden Just Ignore the Dumb Debt Limit if Repubs Refuse to Raise It?: 'BradCast' 2/1/2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14546 https://bradblog.com/?p=14546#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2023 02:04:12 +0000 Brad Friedman Mainstream Corporate Media BRAD BLOG Media Appearance U.S. Constitution Accountability U.S. House Democrats Republicans U.S. Supreme Court Joe Biden Economy KPFK Donald Trump BradCast Saudi Arabia Kevin McCarthy Jared Kushner Dept. of Treasury Federal Reserve Marjorie Taylor Greene James Comer https://bradblog.com/?p=14546 Today on The BradCast: The so-called investigations of the Biden Administration by GOP-led Congressional committees are virtually guaranteed to crash and burn for Republicans in the months ahead. But whether they crash and burn the national and global economies in the meantime remains a very real question. It's one about which our guest today has a few very interesting suggestions for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, however, we pick up a bit on yesterday's coverage helping to gird you for the circus of insanity now barreling toward all of us with the GOP's takeover of the U.S. House. Yesterday, we detailed NBC's Chuck Todd (of all people!) calling out the lies of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan --- the new Chair of both the House Judiciary Committee and the GOP's newly formed Select Subcommittee on "The Weaponization of the Federal Government" --- regarding Jordan's false equivalency between the handful of classified documents discovered and promptly returned by President Biden's aides, and Donald Trump's more than a year-and-a-half long effort to retain hundreds of classified documents he stole from the White House and refused to return.

In a similar vein today, the new Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, made a yutz of himself on CNN over the weekend, trying to explain why President Joe Biden and his family must be investigated for "influence peddling," despite the lack of evidence to support the charge. That while, he insisted, there is absolutely nothing to look into regarding the mountain of actual known evidence suggesting influence peddling by Donald Trump and his family.

For good measure, we also help Marjorie Taylor Greene embarrass herself today by simply playing some of her very serious questions to the U.S. Comptroller --- about Drag Queen Story Hour and an elementary school she claimed received $5.1 billion in "COVID Cash" to teach Critical Race Theory --- at a House hearing today.

As to real damage that Republicans are capable of causing, the Treasury Department is currently taking "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on our national debt for the first time in U.S. history as House Republicans figure out how to best hold the nation's (and world's) economy hostage to demands of cuts to federal spending before they are willing to raise the statutory debt limit. Unless they do so very soon, giving authority to the U.S. Treasury to borrow the money needed to pay for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago authorized and/or purchased, the global economy could come crashing down on everyone. The White House refuses to negotiate on whether our bills must be paid. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on behalf of his far-right caucus, is holding out for...something...though he has yet to make clear precisely what they want.

We're joined today by KEVIN DRUM, longtime blogger formerly of Washington Monthly and Mother Jones, now back on the indie blogging beat at his site, Jabberwocking, for insight on this dangerous mess.

In addition to thoughts on how he sees all of this ultimately shaking out; whether Republicans will really pull the trigger on the hostage this time; how it played out the last time they tried the same gambit when they had control of Congress while a Democrat occupied the White House in 2011; and the history of why the U.S. stands nearly alone among developed democracies in even having such a dumb statutory limit on paying our bills, Drum recently wrote about a couple of ways that Dems may consider moving forward without a vote from Republicans at all.

One idea long discussed by many on the Internet is that the President has the authority to simply order the minting of a $1 trillion platinum coin. Drum explains that well-worn --- if never invoked --- theory, what makes it lawful, and if it would actually work to allow our bills to continue to be paid without Congress voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Another idea he prefers, however, involves calling the GOP's bluff by citing Section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which plainly states "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned" and telling Republicans to "pound sand." Just continue writing checks as usual and let Republicans go to court to get a ruling that the U.S. Government must immediately stop sending Social Security checks to grandma, stop issuing food stamps to hungry families, stop paying for medical care for the poor and elderly, stop all military spending, and stop all interest payments on U.S. treasury bonds, etc.

"If this goes to court for one reason or another, that's actually pretty useful," Drum argues. "It makes Republicans really take a stand. It makes it clear that Republicans are the ones who are trying to cut off food stamps or Social Security or whatever it is."

But, while Drum explains why he believes it's a "low-risk" option, it could still be a dangerous one nonetheless. A favorable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in days of yore might have been a no-brainer. But, with an entirely corrupted, far-right extremist super-majority now at SCOTUS, it's anyone's guess as to whether they would vote to uphold the clear text of the Constitution or not.

There's a lot to discuss with Drum today! I hope you'll tune in!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=14546 'Clocks Striking Thirteen': Court Cites Orwell in Response to FL Republicans' 'Stop W.O.K.E. Act' https://bradblog.com/?p=14536 https://bradblog.com/?p=14536#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2023 17:56:06 +0000 Ernest A. Canning Florida Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution Republicans LGBTQ Los Angeles Germany Race Fascism/Autocracy Nazis ACLU Ron DeSantis George Orwell https://bradblog.com/?p=14536 Late last year, by of way a blistering 139-page order [PDF], Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker agreed that a provision of Florida's totalitarian "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" pertaining to university professors and students should be blocked.

The acronym in the title of the bill --- also referred to, without apparent irony, as the Individual Freedom Act (IFA) --- stands for "Wrong to our Kids and Employees". But, turning to Judge Walker's decision in Pernell v. Fl. Bd. of Governors, it may be useful to understand the intended usage of the word "woke" in Act's title. As defined by Merriam-Webster, it means to be "aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)."

In pressing for passage and in signing this Act, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a current front-runner for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination, vowed "to fight the woke" in our schools, businesses and government agencies. He and other Republican thought police have perniciously conflated the mere mention of historical truths about societal facts and issues relating to race or social justice with "indoctrination".

Last year, Judge Walker's order in response to the Stop W.O.K.E., aka Individual Freedom Act (IFA), hauntingly cited George Orwell's 1984...

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen," and the powers in charge of Florida's public university system have declared the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of "freedom." To confront certain viewpoints that offend the powers that be, the State of Florida passed the so-called "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" in 2022—redubbed (in line with the State's doublespeak) the "Individual Freedom Act". The law officially bans viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints. Defendants argue that, under this Act, professors enjoy "academic freedom" so long as they express only those viewpoints the State approves. This is positively dystopian. It goes without saying that "[i]f liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

This was not the first time Judge Walker ruled on a First Amendment challenge to the IFA. In HoneyFund.Com, Inc v. DeSantis, he issued a preliminary injunction [PDF] against the enforcement of a provision of the Act that, in the name of "individual freedom", prevents employers from offering diversity, equity and inclusion in their employee training courses. The injunction in HoneyFund was stayed pending appeal.

In Pernell, Florida has filed an 11th Circuit motion seeking a stay of the similar preliminary injunction pending their appeal. The ACLU, representing the professors and students, filed a Response opposing the stay motion.

Although the university professors and students in Pernell asked the court to block the entirety of the Florida law, Judge Walker ruled they lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of provisions that did not directly impact university professors and students. That has left high school teachers, librarians and students in the IFA's crosshairs, facing potential criminal prosecutions should they retain disfavored material in their libraries or discuss forbidden topics in their classrooms.

It's also led to the state's rejection of high school Advanced Placement class in African American studies. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced last week that he intends to file suit on behalf of affected high school students and faculty.

Conflating education with indoctrination

The idea that the mere inclusion of issues like "Critical Race Theory" (CRT) in a high school AP African American studies program amounts to "indoctrination" is ludicrous. Per the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, CRT entails "an academic and legal framework that denotes that systemic racism is part of American society --- from education and housing to employment and healthcare." CRT simply "recognizes that racism is more than the result of individual bias and prejudice. It is embedded in laws, policies and institutions that uphold and reproduce racial inequalities."

Brad Friedman and I made that very point during our on-air coverage of a federal court finding that linked the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles to a century of systemic racism. Black Americans account for only 8% of L.A. County's general population, yet they account for 42% of the County's more than 66,000 unhoused residents.

In the view of the Linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky, the core purpose of education is to foster an "impulse to challenge authority; think critically, and create alternatives to well-worn models." Indoctrination, by contrast, is to create a "framework" in which young people "follow orders." It's a "model that traps students into a life of conformity."

The effort to block CRT from an African American studies program calls to mind another passage from George Orwell's 1984: "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

Another Haunting Echo

A report recently released by PEN America finds that 21 Florida School Districts have banned 566 book titles based principally upon objections to theme and characters relating to the LGBTQ community and those of people of color. Another PEN report finds that, last December, the state's Duval County removed 176 books from library shelves, including a number of titles from a collection that "features characters representing a variety of ethnicities, religious affiliations, and gender identities."

As I read the reports, I couldn't help but digress to Germany in 1933.

Shortly after the Nazis seized power, university students burned more than 25,000 books, including those authored by Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway and Helen Keller.

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels seized the moment to declare: "The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end."

Ominously, in the wake of Florida's 21st century book bans and the elimination of CRT-based African American studies, DeSantis declared: "The State of Florida is where woke goes to die."

Both Goebbels and DeSantis would have done well to read Helen Keller's letter/response to the book burnings:

History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas. Tyrants have tried to do that often before, and the ideas have risen up in their might and destroyed them. You can burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe, but the ideas in them have seeped through a million channels and will continue to quicken other minds.

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Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing


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Are You Okay, Chuck Todd?: 'BradCast' 1/31/2023 https://bradblog.com/?p=14545 https://bradblog.com/?p=14545#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2023 02:32:31 +0000 Brad Friedman Florida Pennsylvania Arizona BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Rights And Freedoms Accountability U.S. House Minnesota Dept. of Justice FBI Vote Caging/Intimidation/Suppression Republicans Joe Biden KPFK Russia Climate change Extreme weather Chuck Todd Election 2016 BradCast Race Election 2020 Ron DeSantis William Barr New Zealand Jim Jordan Election 2022 John Durham Adrian Fontes Kari Lake https://bradblog.com/?p=14545 We've got another grab-bag for you on today's BradCast, from the new challenges faced by corporate media during a U.S. House controlled by GOP liars, to more evidence of the former guy's weaponization of the federal government, to still more voter fraud by wealthy white people in Florida.

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • NBC's Chuck Todd, the usually milquetoast host of Meet the Press, actually stood up to a few lies by accomplished GOP liar Rep. Jim Jordan on Sunday. That is never easy, given the flurry of lies the Ohio Congressman is capable of spewing at light speed. But Todd, who traditionally allows rightwingers to get away with all manner of BS with little if any response at all, did an impressive job this week --- at least for a few minutes --- in calling out several of Jordan's patently false assertions attempting to equate Donald Trump's theft of hundreds of classified documents and refusal, for more than a year, to return them to the federal government, with the discovery by Joe Biden's attorneys of a few dozen such documents from during his Vice Presidency found stored by aides at his former office at the Penn Center and his home in Wilmington, Delaware. We share the tale of the tape.
  • Jordan now serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and its silly, newly formed select Subcommittee on "the Weaponization of the Federal Government". The new panel is meant to promote all sorts of QAnon and Fox "News" fantasies and victimization porn about the FBI and DoJ somehow having it out for Republicans. Or something. They will pretend to expose false claims such as the FBI paying millions of dollars to Twitter to censor and ban rightwingers during the Trump years. Or something. Will Democrats and our corporate media be up to the task of countering their nonsense over the next two years?
  • If you're looking for actual "weaponization of the federal government", however, look no further than what the disgraced former President did with his appointment of DoJ weaponizer-in-chief Bill Barr as Attorney General. Late last week, the New York Times published a jaw-dropping exclusive on Barr's failed attempt at revealing "deep state liberals" at the FBI and DoJ with the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel to "investigate the investigators" of Russia's well-documented plot to interfere in the 2016 election. After four years, Barr and Durham have found none of the corruption that Trump and Barr pretended was there. But they did, apparently, find evidence of financial crimes by Donald Trump that, until the Times report just last week, remained their own little secret. Paging Jack Smith.
  • Speaking of lies propagated by rightwingers and the corporate media, you may recall that, during the runup to the 2022 midterms, allegations of rampant, out-of-control crime in big "blue" state cities was all the rage. Trouble is, that was mostly lies as well. Now, a new analysis puts some meat on those bones and dispels another longtime rightwing myth. As it turns out, murder rates in "red" states not only far exceed "blue" states, but that has been the case since at least 2000, according to evidence documented by the new report.
  • Speaking of elections, yet another wealthy white vote fraudster has been arrested for double-voting during the 2020 election in Ron DeSantis' GOP enclave known as The Villages in Florida. He is the fourth, to date. And you won't believe how easy the penalty was for this guy who, like the others, purposely voted twice. Especially as compared to the people of color who were rounded up at gun point by DeSantis' new "Election Crimes and Security" police force just before last year's elections. Those rounded up and tossed in jail by the GOP Governor and Presidential hopeful's personal police squad were former felons who had apparently been allowed by the state to vote two years earlier, despite a loophole in a new law that bars some former felons from being allowed to vote. They had no idea they were voting unlawfully, unlike the white criminals in The Villages who got off with (less than) a slap on the wrist.
  • And speaking of GOP election liars, Kari Lake, 2022's failed, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Arizona who lost by 17,000 votes but is still pretending she won, may now be facing legal issues of her own. According to a complaint filed by the state's newly elected Sec. of State Adrian Fontes (D), in a letter sent to the state's newly elected Attorney General Kris Mayes (D), Lake violated state law by publishing the signatures of several voters on Twitter last week. Fontes is seeking a criminal investigation.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Zealand is swamped by stunning, record rainfall; a new study finds building solar and wind projects is now cheaper than using existing coal-fired power plants; Tax payers in Pennsylvania are now on the hook for the clean up of thousands of recently discovered abandoned oil and gas wells; and the Biden Administration reverses a Trump scheme in Minnesota in order to protect a vast wilderness from toxic mining for the next 20 years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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